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Mr. Tumelty represented Helena Hendricks, who was charged with first degree murder in Atlantic County Superior Court. The defendant faced a number of additional charges, including armed robbery, conspiracy and possession of a handgun for an unlawful purpose. At the conclusion of a jury trial that lasted three weeks, the defendant was found "not guilty" of all charges.

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How to Deal with Criminal Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act (N.J.S.A. 2C:25-17 et seq.) provides avenues through which victims may seek protection. The victim may seek civil relief, or a restraining order, or criminal relief that allows the victim to file a criminal complaint against the aggressor.

Domestic violence victims or those involved in domestic disputes often require court protection. The court may provide the victim or potential victim with relief from potential harm or harassment. To accomplish this, the court may issue a criminal protective order (CPO) for an individual who may be at risk.

CPOs protect a domestic crime victim from additional future harassment or harm from an aggressor (who may be the defendant in a criminal case). A domestic violence victim, a witness, or family members may be granted CPO status for the duration of a criminal case or longer after the prosecuting attorney petitions the court when acts of domestic violence are involved, such as sexual assault, harassment, or stalking.

In doing so, the prosecutor protects the victim and/or witness from the aggressor. After the judge reviews the facts of the case, he or she has the discretion to grant or deny the CPO. If the defendant is convicted of a domestic violence crime, the judge may issue a CPO that prevents the defendant from any contact with the victim for an extended period of time. In that case, the CPO remains valid when the defendant is in custody.

A CPO orders the aggressor to:

  • Avoid contact with you, go near you (or your children, family members, or others living with you)
  • Stay away from your employer’s premises, children’s schools, or your home
  • Move out, if he or she shares a residence
  • Forfeit the right to possess or own a firearm while the CPO is in effect

Violation of a CPO is a crime that’s punishable in New Jersey criminal court. The offender faces will face the possibility of up to 18 months in jail plus a maximum $25,000 fine (N.J.S.A. 2C:29-9).

Protected person(s) in a CPO may request modification at a later date. This action will not terminate the protective order. If the defendant moves out of New Jersey, the CPO remains enforceable.

If you have concerns or questions about criminal protective orders in New Jersey domestic violence cases, contact The Law Offices of John W. Tumelty at 609.385.4010. Mr. Tumelty is a former prosecutor who knows the system. He will fight aggressively for you.


The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney/client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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